18 May

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Our adventurous Interactive Base students successfully completed their Bronze expedition last week, a fantastic achievement for everyone involved!! Once again Mr Taylor, our DofE manager, accompanied the group on their unforgettable experience..

Well-i-Hole DofE IB Bronze Expedition 9/10 May 2018

On Wednesday morning the IB Bronze Group set off on what would potentially be, perhaps, the most challenging expedition for New Bridge staff and students yet. The group consisted of 7 intrepid explorers from the communication group in the Learning Centre’s Interactive Base. For the individuals who have a history of not coping very well with change, there were a great deal of potential areas for challenge. However, ‘nothing ventured/nothing gained’, positivity would overcome (so we hoped)…

We were definitely not travelling light as the packed support minibus demonstrated, filled to the brim with camping equipment and enough clothes and supplies to last at least a week for most..

There seemed to be everything but the kitchen sink……everything that was, apart from Ellie’s cup which we found out when we reached the campsite during unpacking. We set up tents, explored the camp field..

..had a quick lunch and then a short hike into Greenfield..

Then we explored the bridle path, watching the horse riding lessons and off-roading in wheelchairs. This added a new perspective for some of the students as well as the locals (who don’t usually see too many wheelchairs on the bridal path). Following the hike it was back to Well-i-Hole campsite for food. As with most expeditions, it’s about this time the rain starts. This was no exception. Fortunately the teepee could house the whole group so there was some respite..

After tea even the intermittent rain couldn’t stop the football for some and dancing to the Wiggles for others (‘Thank heavens for 4G!’ was the cry from one member of staff as the Wiggles did their thing, this would also prove useful at bedtime). Sleep came quite quickly to some students and quite slowly to some others as the group began to adapt to their new sleeping environments and the noise of the rain on the tent fabric outside..

Day 2 followed and with it some drier weather – things were looking up. Although everything was wet, at least it wouldn’t get wetter whist we packed it up and piled it all back on the bus! We were very tired but still very positive; although there was less dancing to the Wiggles (dead battery) we still had a demand for football and even more smiles as the sun came out..


Following a bite to eat we headed to Etherow Country Park to explore and meet the wildlife. In beautiful surroundings we watched the yachts, motorised boats and got up close and personal with some of the lake’s other inhabitants. Feeding the geese and other water fowl was great fun as they were so approachable. A range of techniques for distributing bird seed were employed, from the conventional ‘sling it’ near or at ’em, having it sprinkled on shoes ready to be nibbled or, for the more adventurous, hand feeding. All of which brought smiles and giggles to the feeders and another inch on the hips of the birds..

It was time to go. As the bus made its way back, it was very quiet but we were very tired. The students coped really well with the change, the environmental/sensory stimulus and the demands of the expedition. It was a marvellous effort by everyone involved!

Gavin Taylor
DofE Manager

A massive ‘thank you!’ to the staff who supported our young people on the expedition – we hope you’ve managed to catch up on some sleep!

You can find out more about the DofE Award Scheme at New Bridge and read about previous expeditions here